Kanney & George use Voice-O-Matic (Maya Edition) to bring Toobo to life on a daily basis!

Kanney & George use Voice-O-Matic (Maya Edition) to bring Toobo to life on a daily basis!

Kanney & George use Voice-O-Matic (Maya Edition) to bring Toobo to life on a daily basis!

Kanney & George use Voice-O-Matic (Maya Edition) to bring Toobo to life on a daily basis!

Kanney & George use Voice-O-Matic (Maya Edition) to bring Toobo to life on a daily basis!

Kanney & George use Voice-O-Matic (Maya Edition) to bring Toobo to life on a daily basis!

Kanney & George use Voice-O-Matic (Maya Edition) to bring Toobo to life on a daily basis!

 Di-O-Matic.com > Press > Success Stories > Toobo  

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Toobo, the Bonobo

For several years now, kids in France have a daily appointment with Toobo the CG bonobo to learn about the daily weather and how to dress accordingly.

Here is a short behind the scene look at how Kanney & George create Toobo on a daily basis using state of the art Computer Graphics animation techniques with the help of Autodesk Maya and Voice-O-Matic.

Please tell us about your company Kanney & George ?

Kanney & George have been working together in the audio visual industry since 2003, from kids TV shows to animation clips and broadcast design. From 2003 to 2010, Gregory Cohen and Yannick Brunel worked under the entity “InteractiFactory”. Today Kanney & George Production, their new company, picked up where InteractiFactory had left off.

Kanney & George is known for its Toobo daily show on kids channels Tiji and Gulli and regularly creates mini-programs dubbed "Heritage programs"  of an edutainment connotation, whose themes are the ecology, discoveries, nutrition and good manners.

Kanney & George is a small company, consisting of 4 full time employees, including the founders. A well structured network of freelancers allows increases of its production load whenever necessary.

Please describe the TV series production that you worked on? 

The animated weather forecast for kids is a series of 3 minutes episodes where Toobo, a bonobo monkey, gives kids a practical advice on how to dress for the day, based on each region’s daily weather report. He also teaches kids various topics like politeness, DIY projects, healthy eating and ecology!

The show is delivered via an FTP site, and uses data from meteorology companies. It was initially designed to be watched by children but has progressively gained a strong following among parents looking for clues on how to dress their kids for that day.

The challenge with this production is to produce and broadcast a daily weather report presented by Toobo. It is not just about the issue of weather but an appointment with this 10 year old ape, who loves meteorology and astronomy. He welcomes us into his room and shares his day to day life with us. Through stories, we discover his friends, passions, loves, doubts…

To constantly renew the animation, story and characters, and avoid any redundancy in this TV series is a whole other challenge in itself.

How did you succeed to produce the TV series ?

We’ve encountered two technical problems, the animation of the character's body and the facial expressions/lip-sync:

1) Animating the body: we created banks of stock animations and regularly re-use bits of these that we mix and match based on the given scene in Autodesk Maya.

2) Lipsync: to save us an enormous amount of time with our lipsync animations, we decided to use Voice-O-Matic. It would have been impossible to produce a daily television program without automation tools of this quality.

We only have one character and it has required months of preparation(modeling, texturing, rigging and rendering), during the first year of production we produced and put together a database of animations and sound banks.

Pre-production lasted four months and was conducted by a team of about 30 professionals of varying backgrounds (designers, art,  directors, copywriters, modelers, animators, renderers, riggers, sound engineers, actors, directors, project managers and not to mention the financial and administrative staff).

The success of this project is that we’ve managed to meet the expectations of broadcasters who were not necessarily looking for a children’s weather show.

Every day we have an appointment with the public’s concerns that we cannot afford to miss. Toobo can be a great intermediary between children and parents. And he has good insights for selecting a proper outfit for any given day, like for example Toobo insists that a ray of sunshine in spring doesn’t mean the temperatures still aren’t warm enough and you should wear a coat.

Why did you choose Voice-O-Matic ? What are the features you preferred in Voice-O-Matic and why?

We chose Voice-O-Matic to simplify and automate all of our lip-sync animations, the amount of time saved and the flexibility that it brings us is considerable. As a comparison, if we had an animator work solely on lip-sync for a full day, he would produce 8 episodes, with Voice-O-Matic we could probably reach as many as 1440 episodes in one full day.

Our animators appreciate the fact that Voice-O-Matic uses animation curves, which allows greater flexibility for any facial animation tweaks.

Which other software did you use in your production pipeline ?

Autodesk Maya, Apple Final cut studio with motion 4 and sound track. As for Voice-O-Matic, since our animators already knew the plugin, there was no learning curve and the plugin was integrated in a matter of minutes. From the start we have included automation tools like Voice-O-Matic to our pipeline. They have been the secret to our success.

Once again, Di-O-Matic technologies helped artists bring unique CG characters to life, this time as a key component of the facial animation pipeline of Toobo the animated series produced in France at Kanney & George, adding Toobo to the list of numerous CG characters that rely on Di-O-Matic technologies to come to life and entertain audience.

Web Links
Voice-O-Matic is available at $349, for more info visit Voice-O-Matic's webpage or get the FREE trial here.
Voice-O-Matic is also available for Softimage and 3ds max.

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